Martinez to Own All-Time NU Records, Heisman Still a Longshot
In just three years, Taylor Martinez has already broken Nebraska's all-time records for career passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense. He needs only about 600 rushing yards next season to surpass Eric Crouch as the all-time leading rusher at quarterback for Nebraska. He needs 12 touchdowns (running or passing) to surpass Crouch's mark for total offense touchdowns. Despite all this, Martinez still appears to be a longshot to win the Heisman trophy next year.
There's a deep field of dual-threat quarterbacks that will contend for the Heisman in 2013. There's Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Ohio State's Braxton Miller, and Clemson's Tajh Boyd. You may not be able to rule out pocket passers like Georgia's Aaron Murray or Alabama's AJ McCarron. On top of that, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney might have the best preseason Heisman hype of any defensive player in memory. That's a crowded field.
It you look at the bar for dual-threat quarterbacks, it seems to be a bit higher than what we've seen from Martinez thus far. He accounted for 33 touchdowns in 2012, but he probably needs to exceed 40 to contend for the Heisman.
Just Win Baby
Beyond that, Heisman candidates that play quarterback are judged on wins and losses. The Huskers might need to be undefeated or have only a single loss when the voting comes around to be considered. The schedule might allow for that, but it probably means Nebraska needs to be 12-0 at the end of the regular season. If NU can handle UCLA at home and Michigan on the road, that might be attainable.
You'd expect Martinez to be able to put together some highlight reel plays that seem to be a prerequisite to winning the Heisman. He already had a couple of those moments this season when he scored long touchdowns (albeit in losing efforts) against UCLA and Wisconsin. You imagine he's got some more magic in him.
It's All About Indianapolis
Still, he'd have to find a way to distinguish himself from the rest of the field. That might require beating Miller in the Big Ten championship game. If he manages that, then a Heisman trophy almost seems trivial by comparison.